What options does the US have in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi?

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The explanation by the Saudi's have been ever changing. First it was a flat denial of his death, now they've acknowledged it once video evidence was presented the the Turkish media.

Saudi Arabia claimed he died in a fistfight involving more than a dozen Saudi officials at the country's consulate in Istanbul.

After 18 days in which it insisted it had no involvement in the journalist's disappearance, Riyadh asserted that Khashoggi died as a result of the altercation after he had come to the consulate to obtain paperwork needed for his forthcoming wedding. An announcement carried on Saudi state TV said discussions between Khashoggi and officials at the consulate quickly turned violent, and ended in his death. Those responsible then tried to cover it up, a Saudi statement said.

Trump made the remarks Friday during a meeting with defense industry executives in Arizona, where he boasted about the deals he’s forged with the Saudis and reiterated his opposition to canceling what he says is a $110 billion deal for U.S. weaponry the Saudis intend to buy.

“I think we’re getting close to solving a very big problem,” Trump said, adding that he found the Saudi explanation credible that Khashoggi died after an altercation. “I think it’s a good first step.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he plans to introduce a bill this week to cut off all military aid to Saudi Arabia until missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is returned alive.

To me, this is just one more reason why we should be very suspect about selling arms to the Saudis," Paul told Shannon Bream, host of 'Fox News @ Night.' "If they have the ability and also the audacity to go into another country and kill a journalist, these aren't the kind of people maybe that we want to be selling arms to."

Which such a large military contract at stake, what can the US really do especially one of the few allies in the Middle East?

Noah

Posted 2018-10-20T16:16:36.410

Reputation: 4 549

2Everything it has done to Iran. But since the US is in the pocket of Saud... – Martin Schröder – 2018-10-20T23:54:19.507

This is a great question. I am hoping that those who can answer do not use the simplistic: "Because of the Oil", "Because Trump owes his fortune to the Saudi Gov't", "Because money is at stake due to the arms deal". There are several issues with the thorny relationship between the western world and Saudi Arabia, including the one no one talks about. That is that Mecca and Medina is in Saudi and with that the keys to the entire Islamic world whose only weakness is that they are still fighting each other. – Frank Cedeno – 2018-10-21T15:41:13.573

This question seems too subjective and opinion-based to invite informative expert-level answers. – Burt_Harris – 2018-10-25T17:55:50.550

Answers

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Excellent question. The answer is, unfortunately, nothing of any legal value. Not only was Khashoggi not an American citizen, he was neither detained nor killed in any American jurisdiction. As such, the most that can be done is issuing a statement that we don't condone extra-judicial punishments.

It's important to note that this type of thing goes on throughout the world, including by many of our other allies. It's something called "sovereignty." If the U.S. were to break off diplomatic relations and boycott goods and services by every nation who put someone to death over something with which the U.S. doesn't agree, we would be alienated from the rest of the world. We certainly wouldn't have anything from China, and we would have absolutely zero influence with the governments of virtually all of Asia, Africa, and even many in Europe.

Jim Schuuz

Posted 2018-10-20T16:16:36.410

Reputation: 77

1What are examples of cases where allies have captured, tortured, and murdered dissident journalists? – rougon – 2018-10-26T04:00:06.060

1Thanks for the link, but I am not sure if I'd call those countries "allies" of if those murders really qualify as state-sanctioned abduction and killing of dissidents. – rougon – 2018-10-26T23:14:52.727

1@rougon What primary source are you using for a list of "allies"? What standard are you using to qualify "state-sanctioned"? – guest271314 – 2018-10-26T23:17:13.167

@guest271314 good questions for the answerer. – rougon – 2018-10-26T23:34:13.603

Welcome. While I personally like the answer, it seems hard to categorize it as verifiably correct. Clearly there are members of congress who disagree. See for example Paul seeks to punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi killing

– Burt_Harris – 2018-10-30T23:25:54.030